Maine’s Premier DUI
& Criminal Defense Law Firm

What can I expect at my initial appearance before a federal magistrate on a drug charge?


This is perhaps the worst possible scenario in criminal law. You are almost always better off having your case in state court as opposed to federal court. The reason is that the potential punishment in federal court is almost always much worse than what you might face in state court.

Be that as it may, if you find yourself in federal court before a federal magistrate at an initial appearance, you can expect the following: bail may be argued at this point. Under federal law, defendants are entitled to bond out or make bail in most cases. However, there are exceptions that include whether or not the person is a safety risk to the community and/or a flight risk. If you fall into one of those categories (usually alleged by the federal government), you maybe detained without bail until a bail hearing can be scheduled.

If no bail hearing is scheduled and you make bond, the magistrate will apprise you of the nature of the charges against you and set the schedule for your case. Federal law requires that all cases must proceed to trial or plea within 75 days of the initial appearance. However, in most cases the 75 day “speedy trial” mandate is waived as the defense team normally needs additional time to prepare the case.

If you've been arrested for federal charges or have received a letter from the US Attorney's Office indicating that you are the target of a federal investigation, you must take action immediately and speak with an attorney. In federal court, every minute counts.

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What distinguishes our Firm from the numerous law firms throughout the state is that we genuinely care about the well-being of our clients. The staff and attorneys of WTB LAW ensure that every client receives hands-on and personalized attention throughout the life of their case.